Exploring Etsy – The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium


Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Hello folks, hope this last month has been treating you all well, here’s hoping there have been no emergency trips to the dentist from a surfeit of Halloween sugar. I’m not sure if you all know this but some exciting things are afoot over at EtsyUK. On the weekend of 5th & 6th of December Etsy teams across the country will be taking part in an exciting initiative called ‘Etsy: Made Local’. At 13 towns and cities across the UK Etsy have teamed up with local crafting, collecting and artisan communities to put together a weekend of inspiring Christmas markets. All about championing local talent it’s a perfect opportunity to meet and support creative communities on your doorstep, and let’s be honest it might just help you get a head start on that daunting festive to do list. One such city is my very own seaside home, Portsmouth, my fab local Etsy team – ‘The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium’ – are putting together a fantastic market at the Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays and it seems only right that I get into the spirit of things and share with you some of the amazing talent that will be on offer.

Mini Caravan Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Mini Caravan Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Illustrated Mini Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Illustrated Mini Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)

First up, the talented Emma Allard Smith whose self-titled shop is a feast for the eyes. An artist and designer, based on the Hampshire/Sussex border, Emma creates colourful art and fabrics, turning her paintings into repeat patterns that are then digitally printed on fabric to make wonderful tea towels, cushions and other decor items that she sells through her Etsy shop. Continually inspired by nature and the coast, she’s spent the last few years travelling around the UK in a camper van or camping in Western Australia, so she’s never short of source material for her inspiration: mountains, beaches, forests and cities. She also has a particular fondness for campers that you can frequently see popping up in her designs. Make sure to check out her shop for more bursts of joyful colour.

Rooftops Tea Towel by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Rooftops Tea Towel by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

I learnt to use a sewing machine at school when I was 11. We created abstract appliqué art from fabric scraps, and I think I’ve still got my first piece somewhere. I loved it but we didn’t have a machine at home, so I remember some pretty abysmal hand sewn projects that followed. I remember hand sewing a terrible skirt that I actually wore to school. I am amazed the teachers didn’t send me home.

Campavan Cushion (detail) by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Campavan Cushion (detail) by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

Being outside. I get so many ideas for new designs while I’m immersed in nature. I also love watching my son create art. His mark making is so expressive and free. I’ve really got back in to having fun with art while collaborating with him. I’ve encouraged him to be creative since he was old enough to hold a pen and it’s paid off, he approaches each fresh clean page with gusto! I get all sorts of ideas for patterns and designs while playing around with finger paint and glitter!

Mini Mountain Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)
Mini Mountain Cushion by Emma Allard Smith (Machine Embroidery)

Next up we have the fabulously fruity creations of Mr Tom West (yes you read that right our very first bit of Y chromosome in Exploring Etsy), whose shop ‘teapot magpie’ is the perfect way to get one of your 5 a day! Tom is a designer-maker who crochets and knits contemporary accessories for people and places that combine fun and function for the everyday, every day. Based in Southsea, Hampshire, when not designing or making, Tom is often found spending money he doesn’t have on yarn he doesn’t need, or encouraging others to do the same, I think you’ll agree though that there’s no such thing as too much yarn!

Fruit Slice Coin Purse by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Slice Coin Purse (Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Protector Pouch by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Protector Pouch (Red Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

My earliest textile-based memory is of an embroidered handkerchief my mum saved from being used as a duster. The colours of the embroidery flosses and the textures of the stitches used absolutely captivated me as a child and started what I have no doubt will be a lifelong love for anything that involves any kind of stitching. I’ve taught myself how to crochet, embroider, knit and sew; and in the 16 years I’ve been developing these skills,  I’ve never produced anything I believe to be anywhere near as beautiful as that handkerchief. I doubt I ever will.

Fruit Protector Pouch (Orange) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Protector Pouch (Orange) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Brooch (Yellow Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Brooch (Yellow Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)

What fires your imagination?

There’s something in the colours, shapes and textures that you find in nature – for some reason, feathers,  fish,  flowers and fruit are the things that capture my imagination the most. I’m sure the fact they all start with ‘f’ is just a coincidence…

There’s a wonderful challenge in trying to recreate these in a textile-based medium and, as close as I might come, I don’t think it can ever be achieved. However, every attempt allows me to explore the relationships between design and making, and I develop a greater appreciation for the complexities of the sources of my inspiration and my skills each time.

Fruit Coin Purse (Light Green Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)
Fruit Coin Purse (Light Green Apple) by Teapot Magpie (Crochet)

Although this is strictly speaking a blog all about the wonders of needlecraft, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight some of the other amazing talent my local team has to offer, everything from illustrators to jewellery designers, us creative types have to stick together!

Contemporary Pet Art and Illustration by The Rhubarb Tree
Contemporary Pet Art and Illustration by The Rhubarb Tree

You can see more of the wonderful Bethany Moore aka ‘The Rhubarb Tree’ here.

Illustrated Prints, Stationary and Gifts by Wink Design
Illustrated Prints, Stationary and Gifts by Wink Design

Wink Design is the brainchild of the very talented Michelle Lancaster, you can visit her shop here.

Clockwise from top left - Kim Styles Jewellery, Sprig Knitwear and The Fidorium
Clockwise from top left – Kim Styles Jewellery, Sprig Knitwear and The Fidorium

It always pays to have a big finish I say! Please do pay a visit to their shops to feast you eyes on even more lovely creations ‘Kim Styles Jewellery’, ‘Sprig Knitwear’ and ‘The Fidorium’.

Heads up to my friends on the other side of the globe in Australia you have your very own ‘Etsy: Made Local’ on 28th November, you can find out more information here. For those of you across the rest of the globe or unable to be involved why not use the Etsy search to check out some of your local talent online!

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Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.


LoadofOlBobbins
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her Etsy shop.
LoadofOlBobbins

@loadofolbobbins

Textile Artist, Illustrator & Family tree detective, share a sacred bond with my sewing machine. Mr X Stitch crew. https://t.co/pIOrGQBHqd
LoadofOlBobbins
LoadofOlBobbins

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